Associated Press

And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Blue Jays 7, Athletics 5: Josh Donaldson hit a tie-breaking two-run homer in the 10th. Brett Lawrie, I dunno, sat in his house and binge-watched season two of “Master of None” last night, very satisfied with the season overall, but somewhat troubled at the overly-dramatic and contrived conclusion to the Dev-Francesca arc which, while potentially satisfying in another context, was tonally off compared to the show’s otherwise grounded milieu.

Orioles 9, Pirates 6: Trey Mancini rode pine for eight innings before coming in as a pinch hitter in the ninth. He tied the game with a two-run homer there, stayed in the game, and hit a three-run walkoff homer in the 11th. I think we should all take this as an excuse to come in late to work today, telling our bosses that it’s not how you begin the day that matters, but how you end it.

Rays 3, White Sox 1: Rays starter Jacob Faria made his big league debut last night. All he did was take a three-hitter into the seventh inning for his first big league win. After the game, Faria called this the “best two-week span of my life.” The game story then goes on to note that, in a two week period in late May and early June 2011, Faria was drafted by the Rays and then got engaged to be married. I feel like whoever wrote that story was throwing some subtle shade, trying to get Faria in trouble with the missus.

Dodgers 2, Nationals 1: Clayton Kershaw (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 9K) and Stephen Strasburg (6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 8K) had themselves a pitcher’s duel. Kershaw won it, but it he got an assist from Nats catcher Jose Lobaton, who allowed Adrian Gonzalez to reach on a passed ball strike three. Yasmani Grandal then drove him in with a tiebreaking RBI double in the sixth.

Rockies 8, Indians 1: Colorado wins its fourth in a row as Nolan Arenado drove in three runs and Charlie Blackmon drove in two more. That was plenty of support for Kyle Freeland, who allowed only one run on six hits while pitching into the seventh. His counterpart, Trevor Bauer, didn’t do so hot. His diagnosis included an ~executed pitches~ moment:

Got myself in trouble by walking people. When I got in jams I feel like I executed pitches to try and get out of them and did the best I could to minimize the damage. The ball didn’t go to people today. I don’t know why.”

I don’t read all the postgame quotes, but any time any of you see some ~executed pitches~ talk, please let me know.

 

Yankees 8, Red Sox 0: CC Sabathia tossed eight shutout innings in the Year of Our Lord 2017, conclusively proving that there is, indeed, life after death. Chris Carter — who has been mostly dead all season — hit a three-run homer and drove in a fourth run with a single. Then again, there’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive.

Tigers 4, Angels 0: Buck Farmer has made two starts this year. The first one, on May 27, featured him pitching shutout ball into the seventh, striking out 11. This one featured him pitching shutout ball into the seventh, striking out five. Farmer left the game with a 1-0 lead, but Justin Upton provided a bunch of insurance with a three-run homer in the eighth.

Reds 6, Cardinals 4: St. Louis had a 4-1 lead in the seventh, but the Reds rallied for five in the bottom half of that inning, thanks mostly to Patrick Kivlehan‘s  pinch-hit three-run homer. Big day for the late arrivers yesterday. The Cardinals, who have been killed by utility guys two nights in a row, have lost six in a row.

Braves 14, Phillies 1Mike Foltynewicz has always had amazing stuff, but like a lot of young fireballers, he hasn’t always been able to control it. If his last two starts are any indication, he’s figuring it out. Foltynewicz tossed seven shutout innings for the second game in a row. Nick Markakis hit three RBI doubles, driving in five as the Braves romped

Mets 4, Rangers 3: The Mets starting pitching was supposed to be their strength coming into the season but for various reasons it’s been their achilles heel. Zack Wheeler, however, helped straighten things out, at least for a night, with seven innings of one run ball. Jay Bruce helped with two homers which drove in three of the Mets’ four runs. Despite all of that it still took a ninth inning error by the Rangers to allow the Mets to score the go-ahead run.

Marlins 6, Cubs 5J.T. Realmuto and Marcell Ozuna homered as the Marlins avoid the sweep. Addison Russell had the night off. Yep, just a relaxing night off in which he could clear is mind and sharpen the saw, as the motivational types say. He should be good to go today, refreshed and renewed for the dog days just around the corner, with nothing to trouble his mind.

Brewers 6, Giants 3: Jimmy Nelson had been lights out his last two starts. He wasn’t as sharp last night against the Giants as he was against the Dodgers and Dbacks in those outings, but he still got the job done, scattering seven hits and allowing three runs over seven innings. Sometimes a pitcher just needs some help. Nelson got it from Jesus Aguilar, who went 2-for-4 and drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out double in the fifth.

Royals 7, Astros 5Jason Vargas scattered six hits over five innings. Cheslor Cuthbert drove in three and Lorenzo Cain hit a solo homer. The Royals were likely happy to have avoided Dallas Keuchel, who was scratched before the game with an unspecified illness that involved barfing and stuff due to what sounds like stomach flu.

Diamondbacks 7, Padres 4Jake Lamb and Brandon Drury homered in the Snakes’ five-run third inning to back Zack Greinke, who wasn’t as sharp as usual but still got the win. The Padres have dropped four straight.

Mariners 6, Twins 5: Mike Zunino hit two homers, his second one a two-run shot with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, giving Seattle a walkoff come-from-behind win. Kyle Seager and Carlos Ruiz also homered as the M’s win their ninth in ten games.

Neal Huntington thinks players should be allowed to re-enter games after concussion testing

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Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli, who has suffered many concussions throughout his 12-year career, was hit on the back of the helmet on a Joc Pederson backswing Saturday against the Dodgers. Through Cervelli remained in the game initially, he took himself out of the game shortly thereafter and went on the seven-day concussion injured list on Sunday.

Perhaps inspired by Saturday’s event, Pirates GM Neal Huntington suggested that players should be allowed to re-enter games once they have passed concussion tests, the Associated Press reports. Huntington said, “Any player that had an obvious concussion risk incident should be allowed to be removed from the game, taken off the field, taken into the locker room, assessed by a doctor, assessed by a trainer, go through an extended period of time and then re-enter the game. Because right now, all of this has to happen on the field.”

Huntington added, “The player has to feel pressure as he’s standing there with 30,000 or 10,000 or 50,000 eyes on him. He has to feel pressure to make a decision whether (he’s) in or (he’s) out of this game. He knows if he takes himself out and he’s the catcher, there’s only one other catcher, and the game becomes a fiasco if that other catcher gets hurt.”

Huntington, who has been forward-thinking on a number of other issues, has it wrong here. The concussion protocols were created because players frequently hid or under-reported their injuries in order to remain in the game. Especially for younger or otherwise less-proven players, there is pressure to have to constantly perform in order to keep one’s job. Furthermore, there is an overarching sentiment across sports that taking time off due to injury makes one weak. Similarly, playing while injured is seen as tough and masculine. Creating protocols that take the decision-making out of players’ hands keeps them from making decisions that aren’t in their own best interests. Removing them would bring back that pressure for players to hide or minimize their ailments. If anything, MLB’s concussion protocols should become more stringent, not more relaxed.

The powers that be with Major League Baseball have no doubt followed the concussion scandal surrounding the National Football League. In January, the NFL settled for over $1 billion with retired players dealing with traumatic brain injuries, including dementia, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. For years, the league refused to acknowledge the link between playing football and CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), which is a neurodegenerative disease that can lead to dementia and has many negative effects, such as increasing the risk of suicide. Since baseball isn’t often a contact sport, MLB doesn’t have to worry about brain injuries to this degree, but it still needs to take preventative measures in order to avoid billion-dollar lawsuits as well as avoiding P.R. damage. In December 2012, former major league outfielder Ryan Freel committed suicide. Freel, who claimed to have suffered as many as 10 concussions, suffered from CTE. MLB players can suffer brain injuries just like football players.

Huntington seems to be worried about not having enough rostered catchers in the event one or two catchers get injured. That is really an issue of roster management. Carrying only two catchers on the roster is a calculated risk, often justified. Huntington can ensure his team never has to be put in the position of not having a catcher in an emergency by rostering a third catcher. Rosters are expanding to 26 players next year, by the way.